We Too

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Sexual abuse – it’s not a comfortable topic…

It’s much easier to ignore it, to sweep it under the carpet and pretend that it doesn’t happen, or at least to convince ourselves that it’s a rare occurrence – something that may happen occasionally elsewhere to other people, but not here…

Not to people we know – in our community… in our church…

I’ve seen the looks of discomfort on people’s faces when I’ve tried to raise the topic.  I’ve witnessed the awkward shuffle, the averting of the eyes, the frantic attempts to move the conversation back onto safer ground… and of course the silence.

And I understand – it would be easier if I could stay silent too.  But no matter how hard I try, something (or Someone) deep inside me compels me to speak.

  • Because it’s an issue that is all too common (accurate statistics are hard to find, but I’ve seen studies indicating that it affects anything between 7% and 18% of people, and either way, that’s a lot). There will be people in your church and in your community who are impacted.
  • Because Scripture encourages us to “Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.” (Proverbs 31:8 NLT)
  • Because as Christians we have so much to offer people – God’s heart is for the broken, and his Kingdom is one of hope and healing and freedom and justice. The #MeToo movement has opened up conversation about the scale of the problem, but all too often the church is silent about the hope we have to offer.  We have left the hurting lying by the side of the road and walked on by on the other side instead of stopping and binding up their wounds as Jesus calls us to do.

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Mary DeMuth’s book We Too is a call to the church to rise up and change this – to respond to the sexual abuse crisis, and to individual survivors, in a way that is redemptive, that points to hope and healing.

I think this book is a “must-read” for anyone who is involved in Christian leadership or ministry.

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It looks at what the Bible has to say about the topic of sexual abuse – and there’s plenty in there.  Despite it being a topic the church often avoids, the Bible doesn’t shy away from it!

The book explores some of the (often unhelpful) ways the church has responded to situations of abuse in the past and some of the reasons the church struggles to deal well with it in the present, such as bad theology that promotes a cheap and easy grace which rushes to offer forgiveness to offenders while ignoring the severity of the impact on their victims and denying them justice.

The book features many real-life stories as well as biblical examples and practical advice and, above all, it is a call to the church to rise up and fulfil its potential of being a place where children are protected, and a safe place for the wounded to heal.

Mary DeMuth writes as one who loves the church and longs to see it be all that it could, and should, be in this area.

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I hope and pray that this book will help many to get over the awkwardness and start the conversation about how we can be this kind of church.

So, how should we respond to stories of abuse?

First of all, here are some examples of what not to say:

I think often the avoidance of the topic stems from fear of saying the wrong thing, or just not knowing what to say in the first place, but really, the right thing is often very simple.

First of all, listen.  That is probably the most important thing we can do.

Then, if you’re looking for something to say, try one of these:

  • “I believe you.”
  • “I’m sorry.”
  • “It was not your fault.”
  • “You are not alone.”
  • “Thank you for having the courage to share.”

We don’t need to have all the answers, just compassion, empathy, and a willingness to walk alongside those on the journey of healing.

I love the way Lauren Daigle’s beautiful song “Rescue” speaks of God’s heart for the wounded.

“You are not hidden;
There’s never been a moment
You were forgotten.
You are not hopeless,
Though you have been broken, 
Your innocence stolen.

I hear you whisper underneath your breath.
I hear your SOS, your SOS.

I will send out an army to find you
In the middle of the darkest night.
It’s true, I will rescue you.”

The image of God sending out an army to find the wounded is a powerful one, and I believe that we, the church, are called to be that army.  This book is both a rallying cry and a practical guide to help equip us to answer that call.

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You can find out more about We Too here, and order on Amazon at these links: UK, US.

I’m grateful to Harvest House for access to a complementary digital copy of the book.  This is an honest review and I only share books here that I genuinely believe will be beneficial to my readers.
Amazon links are not affiliate links, but simply provided for your convenience.

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32 thoughts on “We Too

  1. Lesley,
    Thank you for speaking the truth on a delicate, yet prevalent issue that the church would often prefer to sweep under the rug rather than confront. As members of the church body, we need to be educated on how to respond and what to say and what not to say. We can’t minister to someone if we don’t take the time to become educated. I’ve spoken up about how the church deals with mental illness (also a taboo subject). If we are in church leadership, we need to know what the Bible has to say about these crucial subjects so that we can comfort rather than ostracize those who are hurting. Thanks for taking the time to share this!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Bev! I agree, it’s really important for people to educate themselves about topics like this and mental illness so that we can respond well to people and provide comfort and hope. It would be wonderful if the church could be known as a place of safety for those who are hurting.

      Like

  2. Oh, those questions in the video! 😦 We’ve all heard them, if not said them ourselves. Lord, have mercy on us as we bring this subject into the light. Thanks for sharing about Mary’s book. It looks like an important one!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lesley, this is such a sad and desperate problem in our society—even in our churches. Hard to believe some times. Thank you for speaking out and for bringing this topic (and book) to the forefront of our conversation.

    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for this powerful information, Lesley. I think the church, being made up of human beings, struggles to address this issue, much as most of us do. You are right, of course – the church needs to be a place of healing and an advocate for the victims of sexual abuse. I think the tide is beginning to turn, due to people like you who are willing to speak up.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lesley, thank you for sharing this tender post. Watching the video with what some people say that they shouldn’t brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing responses that are affirming to the person who have endured sexual abuse. This post has me thinking today. And this book is timely.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Such a hard but important topic. We’ve heard of too many instances of this kind of thing being swept under the rug. Maybe because people thought it would ruin the testimony of the church–but neglecting victims’ needs and failing to deal with sin against them hurts everyone involved and damages the church’s reputation in a worse way. Thanks for sharing about this book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Barbara! Yes, a reputation for covering up/ avoiding the truth is not a good one for the church to have and doesn’t help anyone! Thanks for reading!

      Like

  7. Such a great post! Thank you for writing on this sensitive topic! As believers we need to know how and be prepared to minister to victims of sexual abuse. My personal take-away: “We don’t need to have all the answers, just compassion, empathy, and a willingness to walk alongside those on the journey of healing.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Hadassah! Yes, we all know people who are affected, and I love your takeaway- I think often people worry they’re not equipped to help but it doesn’t have to be complicated.

      Like

  8. Thank you for being a voice for those who remain hidden by sexual abuse. It is not a topic that comes up much in my own life, but I pray I will be a good listener and one who embraces the person in love. Mary DeMuth’s book is needed and I hope it gets into the hands of those who need it most.

    And I love this song by Lauren Daigle.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The book sound really powerful, had to put it in my wishlist for now. Thanks for being willing to shed light on a very difficult topic. I actually think your statistics are low, I’ve heard much higher, in the past, although that can always be skewed. Love the suggestions of what not to say, and what to say. Many Thanks 8)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Debra! I agree the statistics are low. I should probably have said these were the UK ones. I have definitely seen US stats that are much higher, and I’m sure they are higher here too. The problem is there don’t seem to have been many studies done here and so much goes unreported. I was trying to base this on what I could actually back up with stats but I’m sure the reality is higher. Hope you find the book helpful.

      Liked by 1 person

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